This is an update of the amazing trip I took to Europe last summer
. Slowly but surely I’m posting about every day I spent on that excellent continent. To read earlier updates, click here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. And here. And here and here and here and here and here and here.
The day after my rejuvenating experience with Mahler just so happened to be Saturday, which meant that the entire class had an entire two days completely free. Some students took quick trips to London, others went to Euro Disney, but I decided I couldn’t rationalise spending money for a hotel room in a different city while I had already paid for a hotel room in Paris. Plus, there was a lot I still had on my check list for the great city, so on Saturday and Sunday I proceeded to work on said list.
I started out by heading to the Puces de Saint-Ouen Market (with useful directions from Jordan Ferney), which is supposedly the biggest flea market in the world. My love of old crap and love of deals and love of French stuff made this part of my trip a very big highlight. The booths were more like tiny little shops, and they had everything from old light fixtures (light bulbs included) to spare parts for toys to old keys to random beads and newsprint letters. I didn’t even bother putting my camera away the entire time because everywhere I turned I needed to take another photo.
I didn’t buy anything because I needed a reason to go back someday:
The only thing that could’ve made it better is if my sister or friend Chelsie had been there to enjoy it with me—it’s just the sort of thing they would’ve loved.
After the flea market I decided to make my way to Montmarte, which is told to be a very artsy part of Paris. I had been to Paris twice before but never made it to Montmarte, and when I finally got there I was kicking myself for not going sooner. I didn’t have much time to spend there, and didn’t see near as much as I wanted, but again: just another reason to go back someday.
One of the coolest parts of Montmarte was the cemetery, which was like its own village in itself. It was this amazing little world, and I loved seeing how Paris built itself right around the cemetery. Obviously it was at one point far away from the city, but now it’s prime real estate:
These tombs are right underneath a freeway overpass:
I got diarrhead on by a bird, but it was okay because it was French poo:
After the cemetery I headed to the nearby Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, or the Sacred Heart Basilica. It’d been on my checklist for a long time so I was thrilled to see it finally.
I didn’t go inside because I had more important things to spend my Euros on like chocolate croissants, and if you’ve seen one cathedral you’ve seen them all (my professor is turning over in his undug grave). But I did grab this video from the top of the hill where the Basilica is pleasantly situated:
One of my favourite things to do when I’m in a foreign place is to ride the city bus and talk to people. I did just that on my way to Sacré-Cœur, and I received a lot of handy information (like the best bus stop to take that would ensure I took the fewest steps possible, and to skip the interior of the Basilica because it wasn’t worth it). On the bus ride, one old lady kept trying to tell me something about products from France.
“Products from France! Products from France!” she insisted. (She said a lot of other things but the only thing I understood was PRODUCTS FROM FRANCE—YOU HAVE TO SEE THE PRODUCTS FROM FRANCE.)
I kind of smiled and nodded my head, having no clue what she meant, but it didn’t take long for me to figure it out once I got off the bus near the Basilica: there was a street fair called Le Périgord featuring specialties from all over the many regions of France—products from France. (There’s another tourist writeup of it on this blog, which has some better photos of it than I took.)
I saw truffles for the first time in my life and realised that they cost an awful lot of Euros for something that looks suspiciously like turds:
I also tried foie gras for the first time in my life and almost threw up because it tasted so very much like blood (in fact, that’s pretty much what it is). So I ate these delicious strawberries with creme to get the flavour out of my mouth:
I marvelled at some street performers like this lady chillin’ on the street dressed up as Eliza Doolittle with an accordion:
And this guy who belonged in Cirque du Soleil (if you don’t watch any other video I post here, watch this one) (he was so good that I stuck around to watch a second time just so I could capture it on video for you, my friends) (and then I paid him a Euro because I suffer from debilitating socioeconomic guilt) (but actually this guy’s probably a lot richer than I am so I should’ve kept my Euro to myself):
All in all it was a very successful day of checking things off my “To See in Paris” list.
And the next day I went to church.